Open letter to the Minister for Education: Save our year nine community

Dear Mr Merlino,

I saw the gorgeous photo this week of you sending your daughter off to her first day of school. I recognise the smiles – a funny mish mash of pride and apprehension all rolled into one. I have four children of my own, aged 12, 11, 10 and 2. Sending them off to school is an exciting time.

My kids go to a P-12 College in country Victoria. You might have heard of it. Actually…wait…you must have heard of it…because you sent a letter to our school on January 12 stating you are coming on Monday February 9 to remove our entire year 9 learning village. Although…it probably won’t be you per se, given it will take 15 or so trucks to take our buildings away.
I am having trouble making sense of these events.

Here is what I think has happened.

There is a glossy excel spreadsheet somewhere on your desk that says our school will be ok if you remove the entire year 9 learning space. The kids will still fit – somewhere. The problem with your glossy excel spreadsheet is, it is missing a column for totally-unserviceable–and-royally-stuffed-up classrooms. Because that is the caliber of classrooms our year 9’s will be left with.

It’s kind of unfortunate our school has been overlooked for funding to finish our middle school for….oh…say…roughly …forever. Otherwise, we would gladly let you take away our year 9 portables and re-house them in lovely, air-conditioned, new buildings.

I fear my tone has become sarcastic. But you can imagine this has all come as a bit of a shock, particularly because at the end of last year our school was assured by your government the buildings would stay.

I am not much into politics myself. Don’t tell anyone – but I would not have been able to name the Minister for Education prior to today. You can rest assured I am not writing this letter to run down your party or help either side stockpile votes. It’s not my thing.

This is just me, asking you, parent-to-parent (let’s forget for a minute you have all the power in this situation and I have none), to make a compassionate, reasonable, fair decision.

Please, please, please leave our buildings where they are? Country kids deserve the same quality education as their city counterparts. My kid has the right to learn in a comfortable, well resourced classroom – just like your kid does.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think Cranbourne parents should have to worry like this either, because word on the street is that’s where our buildings are headed.

So, surely you could find some spare classrooms elsewhere?

Maybe you could build some.

You can even have our white ant riddled ones if you want.

Yours Sincerely,

Lisa Booth

P.S. As a side note – what have you done with the $389,465 that our school has paid you in site works, installation costs and lease payments for our year 9 buildings? We can’t seem to find it anywhere.
Readers: Please sign the online petition at the Save Kyabram’s Year 9 Community Facebook page and as always, I’d love you to come chat with me at Booken Blend on Facebook.


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